It is almost the end of the first year. For some this has been a great learning experience, a time for growth, and self-discovery. For some this has been a time of trial and error. Whichever path you took consider giving back to the next group of freshmen about to join the college ranks. There are several opportunities to consider when it comes to giving back to students.
Remember your orientation date, the tour you took, and the day you took your university ID picture. This day was mostly spearheaded by Orientation Leaders, whose primary responsibility is to help orient you with the campus. Becoming an Orientation Leader makes for a very busy summer, but allows you to meet the incoming students and be the face of the university.
Resident Assistant (RA)
Making their house, their home. Serving as an RA allows you the opportunity to give back to students by helping, leading, and cultivating them through face-to-face interaction, programming, and role modeling. RAs gain invaluable skills and experience things that will prepare them for life way after college.
Mentoring has become a newer way to give back to students. Majors, special interest organizations, and departments on campus may offer mentoring programs where you will be paired-up with similar incoming students. Building connections with students during the summer and when the school year starts ensures that students have someone to approach with questions and to seek advice.
Another initiative on campuses, that allows incoming freshmen a jump start at college life. Programs such as these invite students to campus during the summer and experience classes, student housing, and special programming. The programs hope to expose participants to college life prior to the semester starting, so students are prepared and settled once the school year begins.
The summer is usually a pretty quiet time on campus, however, it is also one of the busiest times campus. The summer is filled with orientations, wrap-up from the previous semester, and preparations for the new semester. Inquire within offices for open positions, as students will be graduating and leaving for the summer. Summer employment could result in a permanent position within the department.
Regardless of how you started your first year, use your experiences and knowledge to give back to the incoming students. Find a way to share your experiences with the new class and help them make wise decisions and successfully navigate through their first year.